Deboning a Northern Pike

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Pikemasters 2015 Banquet Tickets Available soon!

February 7, 2015  Pikemasters Banquet at the Elks.  Tickets will be available for sale soon so keep watching the site.  We’ll post when we have them to sell.

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Christmas Party 2014

Anyone attending please bring either appetizers or a dish like casserole, salad.  We have ordered chicken and a meat and cheese tray that will be provided.

White elephant gift exchange.  Kids are welcome to join in but they must bring a present to exchange as well.

xmas2014

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2014 hunter numbers, deer harvest down from average

image002BILLINGS — The number of hunters who stopped at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 5 check stations during the 2014 general season was down about 11 percent from the long-term average. The number of deer checked also was lower than average, but the elk harvest remained strong – up 30 percent from average.

The five-week general season closed Sunday, Nov. 30. In Region 5, which encompasses south-central Montana, FWP operated check stations at Big Timber, Columbus, Laurel and Lavina on weekends through the season.

FWP wildlife officials checked 4,418 hunters during the season. That was 89.2 percent of the long-term average of 4,955 hunters checked. Those who stopped checked 327 white-tailed deer, 51.9 percent of the average of 630. A total of 554 mule deer were checked, just 60.3 percent of the usual 919. Hunters checked 247 elk, which is 130.2 percent of the long-term average of 190 animals.

Of those who stopped at check stations in 2014, 25.5 percent had harvested game – down from an average of 34.9 percent over the past decade.

-FWP-

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Closing weekend hunter numbers down from 2013, harvest higher

image002BILLINGS — Cold temperatures and high winds kept many south central Montana hunters at home or near their vehicles for the closing weekend of the five-week 2014 general big-game season. Those who weathered the elements did well, however, as the percentage of hunters who brought animals to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks check stations was better than during the same weekend in 2013.

At Columbus, hunter numbers were similar to the final weekend of 2013, but the mule deer and elk harvests, as well as the percentage of sportsmen with game, were higher.

FWP wildlife biologist Shawn Stewart checked 184 hunters Saturday and Sunday, up just two from the same weekend in 2013. Those hunters had 23 white-tailed deer – up two from last year – and 38 mule deer – up 46 percent from the 26 checked in 2013. The elk harvest remained strong with nine coming through the check station compared to just one last year. Of those who stopped at Columbus, 38 percent had harvested game, up from 29 during the closing weekend of 2013.

After a slow start to the general big-game season, hunter numbers and the percentage of hunters with game picked up for the final weekend at the Laurel check station.

FWP wildlife research specialist Jay Watson checked 120 hunters over the weekend at Laurel – down from 174 for the close weekend of the 2013 season. Those hunters had 27 white-tailed deer – up from 16 last year – and 19 mule deer – down from 30 in 2013. Hunters checked three elk, up from one last year. For the weekend, 41 percent of hunters who stopped at Laurel had animals compared to 27 percent a year ago.

At Big Timber, FWP wildlife biologist Justin Paugh checked 208 hunters with 35 white-tailed deer and 27 mule deer. During the final weekend of the 2013 season, 220 hunters stopped at Big Timber with 35 white-tailed deer and 37 mule deer. The elk harvest remained strong with 20 animals checked over the weekend compared to 14 on the same weekend last year. Hunter success was the same as the final weekend in 2013 with 39 percent of hunters harvesting game.

At Lavina, the number of deer and elk checked over the weekend were similar to last year, but the number of hunters was down substantially from the 2013 closing weekend. FWP wildlife biologist Ashley Taylor reported that 355 hunters stopped Saturday and Sunday, down from 508 on the same weekend last year. Of the hunters who stopped, 29 percent had harvested animals, compared to 20 percent in 2013.

Hunters checked 22 white-tailed deer – the same as in 2013 – and 49 mule deer – one fewer than last year. The elk harvest remained strong with33 checked, compared to 30 in 2013.

The white-tailed deer harvest was 66 percent below the long-term average while the number of mule deer checked on the final weekend was 76 percent below average. The numbers were expected since fewer deer B tags were issued this year because of a dip in populations.

 

-FWP-

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Region 5 CAC schedules open house with legislators

image002BILLINGS — The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 5 Citizen Advisory Council will hold an open house Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Billings to meet with state senators and representatives and department staff concerning the upcoming legislative session.

The open house is set for 6:30 p.m. at FWP’s regional headquarters, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive in Billings Heights.

The nine-member CAC meets quarterly in Billings to provide input on natural resource issues in south central Montana. All meetings are open to the public.

 

-FWP-

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Windy weather limits hunter numbers, success

image002BILLINGS — Windy, cold weather over the weekend kept many south central Montana hunter home and limited the success of those who went to the field.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologists who operated three south central Montana check stations reported fewer hunters and a lower percentage of sportsmen with game than the same weekend in 2013. Winds of more than 40 miles per hour and temperatures that struggled to top 40 degrees kept deer in hiding and made hunting uncomfortable throughout the region.

At Big Timber, FWP wildlife biologist Justin Paugh reported that the deer harvest was lower than last year. That drove the percentage of sportsmen with game down to 39 percent, the lowest on record and well below the 53 percent for the fifth weekend of the 2013 general big-game season. Paugh checked 107 hunters with 11 white-tailed deer over the weekend, compared to 92 hunters with 20 white-tailed deer in 2013. The mule deer harvest was identical to last year at 23. Hunters checked eight elk – two better than the same weekend in 2013.

FWP wildlife biologist Shawn Stewart reported that the number of deer checked at Columbus was well below the same weekend last year. The number of hunters also was down from 2013 and a smaller percentage of sportsmen had animals to check.

Stewart checked 200 hunters Saturday and Sunday – down from 211 on the same weekend in 2013. Those hunters checked 27 white-tailed deer and 27 mule deer – down from 50 white-tailed deer and 34 mule deer last year. The elk harvest continued a strong showing with six elk checked – double last year’s statistic. Just 30 percent of those who stopped at Columbus had game – down from 45 percent on the fifth weekend of 2013.

FWP wildlife biologist Ashley Taylor reported that the number of hunters who stopped at Lavina was below the same weekend in 2013, but the deer harvest remained strong. She checked 185 hunters compared to 227 on the same weekend last year. They had 16 white-tailed deer – identical to last year’s statistic – and 24 mule deer – up from 20 on the same weekend in 2013. The percentage of hunters with game was 25 percent for the weekend, up a point from the same weekend last year.

For the year so far, FWP has checked 3,158 hunters at Lavina, Big Timber and Columbus – down five percentage points from the long-term average. Hunters have checked 203 white-tailed deer, just 51 percent of the long-term average. They reported 370 mule deer – 57 percent of average. The elk harvest remains strong with 178 elk checked, up 66 percentage points from the long-term average.

Montana’s five-week general big-game season runs through Nov. 30. Hunters are reminded that they must stop at any check station they pass while hunting, whether or not they have harvested game. Check stations primarily are intended for biologists to gather statistical information about animals and hunters.

-FWP-

 

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Hunter numbers, harvest strong despite wind and cold

image002BILLINGS — The number of hunters and the percentage of sportsmen who harvested animals remained strong over the weekend in south central Montana, despite challenging weather conditions.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists who operated three check stations in south central Montana Saturday and Sunday all reported that the percentage of hunters who had game was better than the same weekend last year and close to the long-term average for the fourth weekend of the general big-game season.

Hunters at all check stations reported seeing plenty of deer rutting activity, but that winds to 40 miles per hour made hunting difficult.

At Columbus, FWP wildlife biologist Shawn Stewart checked 209 hunters, down from 226 on the same weekend last year. Of the sportsmen checked, 38 percent had harvested game, up from 26 percent on the same weekend last year and only a point lower than the long-term average.

Stewart checked 35 white-tailed deer – up four from last year – and 31 mule deer, up from 25 in 2013. This was the first weekend of the season when the white-tailed deer harvest exceeded the mule deer harvest. The elk harvest remains strong with 13 animals checked over the weekend at Columbus, up from just two last year.

For the year so far, 809 hunters have stopped at Columbus – 13 percent below last year but ahead of the long-term average of 778. The mule deer and white-tailed deer harvest remains well below the long-term average, but the number of elk checked and the percentage of hunters with game are near average.

At the Lavina check station, FWP wildlife biologist Ashley Taylor saw 201 hunters Saturday and Sunday, down from 210 on the same weekend in 2013. She ckecked 16 white-tailed deer – down just one from last year – and 25 mule deer – down from 28 a year ago. The elk harvest remained strong with 17 animals checked compared to 14 last year. For the weekend, 28 percent of sportsmen who stopped at Lavina had game – up a point from 2013 and one point lower than the long-term average.

For the first four weekends of the 2014 season, hunter numbers at Lavina are nearly identical to the long-term average of 1,241. The white-tailed deer harvest is off by 71 percent, the mule deer harvest is down 53 percent and the percentage of hunters with game is just 16 percent – down from a long-term average of 29 percent. The elk harvest ramins strong, however, with 78 animals checked – up from an average of 46.

At the Big Timber check station, all statistics were higher than the same weekend in 2013. FWP wildlife biologist Justin Paugh checked 104 hunters – up from 95 last year, but well below the long-term average of 142. Sportsmen checked 17 white-tailed deer – up from 10 last year – and 30 mule deer – up from 17 in 2013. Both deer statistics were well below the long-term average for the Big Timber check station. Elk remain a bright spot with nine checked over the weekend – compared to last year’s count and the long term average of six.

The percentage of hunters with game was 54 percent – up three points from the long-term average and well above last year’s 35 percent rate.

For the year to date, 617 hunters have stopped at Big Timber compared to an average of 631 for the first four weekends. The 40 white-tailed deer checked represent less than half of the average of 88 while the number of mule deer – 102 this year – is well below the average of 127. The elk harvest remains strong with 36 checked – 10 better than the average. The percentage of hunters with game is 37 percent so far this year – down from a long-term average of 50 percent.

Montana’s five-week general big-game season runs through Nov. 30. Hunters are reminded that they must stop at any check station they pass while hunting, whether or not they have harvested game. Check stations primarily are intended for biologists to gather statistical information about animals and hunters.

 

-FWP-

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FWP looking for information on poached mule deer

image002BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens are offering a reward for information about a mule deer buck that was killed illegally and left to waste south of Billings on Nov. 12.

FWP game warden Courtney Tyree said the mule deer buck was shot illegally along Hillcrest Road south of Billings.

FWP is offering a reward of as much as $1,000 for information leading to a conviction of the persons responsible for the illegal kill. Anyone with information about the crimes is encouraged to call Tyree at (406) 860-7814 or FWP’s 24-hour wildlife tip line at 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668).

The 1-800-TIP-MONT program is a toll-free number where people can report violations of fish, wildlife or park regulations. Callers may remain anonymous. It is similar to the well-known Crimestoppers program and offers rewards for information resulting in conviction of persons who abuse Montana’s natural, historic or cultural resources.

 

-FWP-

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Happy Veterans Day!

pmvet-page001

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